Five-Step Drop: Stanzi for Heisman?
1. We've seen lots of names tossed around as contenders for the Heisman Trophy this season, just like every season. I had yet to see the name of Iowa's scrappy quarterback Ricky Stanzi, however, until Monday. I don't know what it is about Stanzi, as he's a solid player, but seeing the words "Stanzi" and "Heisman" together just looked completely outlandish at first.
The thing is, the Des Moines Register columnist actually has a salient point: Look at Stanzi's numbers. He's thrown 19 touchdowns to just two picks while completing 68.5 percent of his passes and averaging 240-plus yards through the air per game. He also has two rushing touchdowns. His rating is over 180. If he kept up this pace and Iowa won out (meaning the Hawkeyes beat Ohio State in a few weeks), he'd have a decent resumé. The problem so far is the two losses, even if they weren't his fault, but it's definitely not outlandish to discuss -- especially for an Iowa-based writer.
And before anyone prepares to tar and feather the writer without reading the whole story, I feel compelled to point out he said Stanzi's a complete longshot and lower in the article listed Cam Newton, LaMichael James and Kellen Moore as his current top three.
2. Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy already has a national championship on his impressive list of achievements. He may be able to add Rhodes Scholar soon, as he's a finalist. The last college football player to accomplish the feat was Florida State's Myron Rolle.
3. It wasn't long ago West Virginia was humming along -- easily in the driver's seat for the Big East's automatic bid to the BCS. Even if the conference isn't even close to being in the top six in the nation, it's not like any team would turn down the berth. Furthermore, the Mountaineers seemed to have a compelling case to be a very legitimate team. Their only loss was a six-pointer in LSU, which was undefeated at the time. Fast-forward to the present time. West Virginia has lost consecutive games to Syracuse and Connecticut. Suddenly, the upcoming games -- vs. Cincinnati, at Louisville, at Pittsburgh -- look like they could be very dangerous. In light of this, coach Bill Stewart has begun a "total self-evaluation" of his team. He'll have a bye week to do so as well.
4. Florida State players and coaches have taken to defending quarterback Christian Ponder publicly. Having seen this far too many times to count, I'm going to guess Ponder is less concerned about this than his teammates and coaches. Part of being a quarterback is shouldering the blame when your team loses, even if it isn't your fault. The flip-side, of course, is getting credit even if the team is winning in spite of you. It's a give-and-take all quarterbacks have willingly taken on.
5. Sad story here: Mississippi State defensive end Nick Bell was forced to undergo surgery Monday and sent to intensive care afterward. He found out Sunday his form of skin cancer had spread.